Jon Bon Jovi visits JBJ’s Nashville for the Lower Broadway bar opening

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Jon Bon Jovi is having a big weekend in Nashville.

In addition to opening its highly anticipated five-story Broadway bar, JBJ’s Nashville, on Saturday, the band will also release the new Bon Jovi album “Forever,” which was recorded at Nashville’s Ocean Way, on June 7.

Bon Jovi and bandmates Tico Torres, David Bryan and Hugh McDonald were on hand Thursday for a media preview of the massive 31,000-square-foot entertainment space and got to see the finished product for the first time.

“It’s like Christmas morning,” he told The Tennessean. “I knew this space as a parking lot. We went there once during construction, but we didn’t see the finished product until today.”

The five-story space welcomes visitors to its open floor plan, with all levels leading up to the three-tiered podium on the ground floor. Walls are covered with Bon Jovi photos spanning the band’s decades-long history and lyrics are emblazoned in neon throughout. There are two outdoor roof terraces overlooking Broadway and 4th Avenue.

The toilets are even labeled ‘Tommy’ or ‘Gina’.

“It’s cool that the space is brand new,” Bryan added. “It has elevators in it. We didn’t have to adjust anything. It’s like we designed it and made it.”

Bon Jovi oversaw the design process and worked with developer BPH Hospitality, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nashville-based Big Plan Holdings, on how the space would ultimately function. He also took care of all the memorabilia lining the walls of the room.

When asked how his space will stand out from its country music neighbors like Garth Brooks’ Friends in Low Places next door and Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row across the street, he smiled and said, “We’re rock and roll.”

JBJs is new to Nashville, but Bon Jovi is not

While JBJ’s is the latest neon sign to light up Lower Broadway, Bon Jovi the man and the band have been coming to Nashville to write, record, visit friends and hang out for 35 years. Bassist McDonald even lives in Nashville.

“I always jokingly say, ‘These are my people.’ If Hollywood is known for the acting community, Nashville is known for the musical community. If you go to the Bluebirds and the Exit Ins you see a lot of rock edge country stuff and I just fell in love with Everybody’s a songwriter they know the main one. The city’s asset is the song and that attracted me.”

He tells a story about how the band used to stay at the Hermitage Hotel and left a notebook and a stack of pens on the desk in the hotel room for a single purpose.

“They know why you’re there and they encouraged me to write in these hotel rooms. Many songs were written in the Hermitage.’

The band has recorded several songs and albums in Nashville over the years, including the latest, “Forever,” which Bon Jovi calls a “return to joy” after the last record “2020” was made during Covid.

“We had a blast making this record,” McDonald added. “Normally we love every baby that comes out, but this one is special. We felt like we were at home in the studio and I was really at home. I had to drive to work, which was very strange for me. I’ve never done that before.”

Backstory: Jon Bon Jovi will open JBJ’s Nashville on Lower Broadway this spring

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Jon Bon Jovi is working with the city to set up a charity arm

Bon Jovi also founded the JBJ Soul Foundation with his wife Dorothea and the couple own four JBJ Soul Kitchens in the Northeast that operate as non-profit community restaurants serving paying customers as well as those who need a hot meal but cannot afford it.

He said he wants to create some sort of charity in Nashville and has been working with Mayor Freddie O’Connell to figure out the best options to continue his generosity on hunger and homelessness here.

“I’m trying to find some common ground with the mayor to do something unique,” ​​he said. “The way Garth built the police substation, which I think is fantastic… I want to find a charitable aspect because that’s always important. I’ve been working on it since we broke ground.”

Melonee Hurt covers music and music business at The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee. Reach Melonee on [email protected]on X @HurtMelonee or Instagram at @MelHurtWrites.